Sexy Time: Does The Media Influence Our Sex Lives?

I recently came across an interesting blog post providing some insight into society’s portrayals of sex. The cultural dialogue on sex isn’t terribly nuanced. There is aggressive, brash, unapologetic sexuality promoted by porn and pop music, and then there’s the less prominent demure, lovemaking more likely to be seen on TV and in movies. This post kind of struck a chord with me.
When we start having sex, we’re pretty likely to start emulating what we see portrayed in the media. How many of us have open, uncensored, honest conversations about our sex lives with our friends? In my experience, it’s only been very recent that I have encountered friends (and everyone who reads this column) who can talk about sex, without being coy or shrouding reality in coyness and exaggerations. So the only frame of reference we truly have is what we see in the media.
I only like rough sex. I can only orgasm from extremely intense penetration. I’ve tried “regular” sex and “making love” and I can never stick with it for long. I crave animalistic, aggressive, primal, unapologetically hardcore nookie. And I wonder how much of that is influenced by my  viewing of porn and my (almost excessive) consumption of what some  have referred to as “slutwave” pop (Ke$ha, anyone?) I know that my preferences are my own to have, but at the same time, I don’t exist in a vacuum. My body is connected to my brain, and my brain is constantly bombarded with certain images of sexuality. What if I was someone who only watched demure Hollywood classics and listened strictly to down-tempo classical music? Would I still be begging for it harder and faster in the bedroom? Would I take “you f*ck like a porn star” as a compliment?
As far as I know, there is no scientific study on the effect of the media on our sex lives, but I have to imagine that to some extent, many of us take our sexual cues from the media. I can’t imagine how many people feel ridiculous amounts of pressure to live up to the almost unattainable ideals of sex perpetrated by our cultural mediums. How many guys feel inadequate because they can’t thrust as hard and as aggressively as the dudes in porn (both professional and amateur)?  How many women feel less-than hot because they aren’t as extroverted in their sexuality as Lady Gaga or Rihanna? How many couples aspire to the candlelight romantic “lovemaking” that leaves both partners feeling unfulfilled and awkward.
The way that sex is talked about and acted out in pop culture should absolutely be more multifaceted than it is. There should be as much space for moderate expressions of sex as there is for the extremes. Sex is such a complex concept with so many different ways of interpretation — there’s no reason for that to not be see in our music, movies, porn, TV shows, and every other medium available to us.

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